From the Editor: No Labels for Columbus Artist Wallace Peck

Kristen Schmidt

I discovered outsider art about 15 years ago during a visit to the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. The museum is dedicated to the work of "outsider" and folk artists, who are self-taught, typically have no formal training and, to quote the museum, "whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself." The museum's collection is eclectic, colorful, spontaneous, and subjects range from sober and serious to surreal and playful. The common thread: These artists see the world through a delightfully different, unvarnished lens.

It is especially fitting that Columbus, which proudly defies simple categorization and labels, has its own tradition of folk and outsider art. One example: Elijah Pierce, one of the city's most treasured native sons. Born to a former slave in Mississippi in 1892, Pierce grew up carving wood for fun. Love brought him to Columbus in 1923. Here, he worked as a barber and became more serious about his art. Today, his pieces are in the permanent collections of the Columbus Museum of Art, the American Folk Art Museum and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

For years, gallerist Duff Lindsay has championed the work of folk and outsider artists, giving their work the same respect and honor paid to establishment artists. His Lindsay Gallery, on High Street in the Short North, is nimble and keeps its walls and space fresh with frequently rotating shows. Wallace Peck is one artist who is represented by Lindsay Gallery, and now his work is also in the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.

We can't wait for you to meet Wallace in this month's issue ("Outside In"). Like Lindsay and other lovers of art in Columbus, including Ohio first lady Karen Kasich, we have been charmed and delighted by Wallace's approach to painting and to life. His confident, colorful paintings of people, animals and sometimes buildings are hard to label. Lindsay puts it best when he says, "It's really hard to say, 'What does it look like?' Because it looks like a Wallace Peck."

We think it's perfectly apropos that Wallace's art, like the city he calls home, is tough to categorize. It's enough to know that we love it, whatever it is.